NRCS California Accepting Applications for Tribal Initiative

SOURCE USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service

DAVIS, Calif., Feb. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is again partnering with California’s tribal nations to make financial assistance available to help tribal farmers, ranchers and non-industrial private forest operators put additional conservation on the ground.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Tribal Initiative provides financial and technical assistance to Tribes and tribal producers who voluntarily agree to NRCS guidelines for installation of approved conservation practices that address program priorities related to addressing soil, water, air quality, domestic livestock, wildlife habitat, surface and groundwater conservation, energy conservation, and related natural resource concerns.

While applications are taken continuously throughout the year, eligible farmers and ranchers are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible. Applications will be screened and ranked in four batching periods (February 20, April 17, June 19 and July 17).

Eligible applications will be considered based on the following priorities:

Five landscape resource priorities are aimed at improving and managing forest health and reducing wildfire threats, as well as rangeland health and water quality. The five priorities areas are:

  • Northern Coastal Tribal Forestland in Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, western Shasta, western Siskiyou, Sonoma and Trinity
  • Northern Coastal Tribal Rangeland in Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, western Shasta, western Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma and Trinity counties
  • Inter Mountain/Central Sierra Forestland in Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, eastern Shasta, Sierra, eastern Siskiyou, Tulare and Tuolumne Counties.
  • Inter Mountain/Central Sierra Rangeland in Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Kings, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, eastern Shasta, Sierra, eastern Siskiyou, Tulare and Tuolumne Counties.
  • South Coast and Desert Tribal Forests and Rangeland in Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Mono, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

Two statewide resource priorities are aimed at reducing soil erosion, improving irrigation water efficiency, water quality, restoring and managing native plants for traditional Native American food and fiber production. The two statewide priorities are:

  • Statewide Tribal Poly-farms: small, biologically diverse farms and medium size agricultural operations for subsistence, intra-tribal and external commerce.
  • Native Plants Restoration: culturally important tribal plants for food and fiber.

There are 109 federally recognized American Indian tribes in California. There are at least 69 non-federally recognized tribes in California petitioning for federal recognition. The federally recognized tribes have jurisdiction over 635,739 acres of Tribal trust land in California.

NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America’s private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935. For more information on NRCS, visit


Washington snowpack 112 percent, best in West

Washington Snow Water Equivalent map

April 5, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Associated Press

The mountain snowpack in Washington is 112 percent of normal and the best in the West, where the average for other states is about 75 percent, a water supply specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service said Friday.

Arizona is the lowest at 40 percent and the Southwest is in “tough shape” for its water outlook for the rest of the year, said Scott Pattee who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture service in Mount Vernon.

The service compiled reports from measurements taken April 1 — usually the peak time for the mountain snowpack in the water year, which begins Oct. 1. The percent of normal figures are based on a 30-year average.

“The ‘so what’ on this story is that 70 to 80 percent of surface water in the Pacific Northwest comes from mountain snowmelt,” Pattee said.

The snowpack measurement tells utility managers how much power they can expect hydroelectric dams to generate, tells farmers how much irrigation water they can expect to pour on crops, tells fisheries managers whether migrating salmon will have sufficient stream flows. Snowpack information also is used in avalanche forecasts and by river-rafters planning their season.

In Washington, the snowpack is heaviest on the Olympics at 130 percent and lowest in the southeast corner of the state at 85 percent.

“I don’t think there’s going to be much concern,” Pattee said.

The Northwest received plenty of precipitation, especially in the October-December period.

“It just came in surges this year,” he said.

Other states don’t have as much water in the snow bank.

“Most of the Southwest is in pretty tough shape” with a poor stream flow outlook, Pattee said.

Snow measurements for the survey in Washington are taken by about 30 people with utilities, irrigation districts and agencies like the Bureau of Land Management. Data also comes from 70 automated SNOTEL stations in the state, Pattee said. The information goes through computer models for forecasts.

In Washington the snowpack peaked on March 24 and started slowly melting, he said.

The state snowpack averages, according to Natural Resources Conservation Service figures:

Alaska around 100 percent, Arizona 40, Northern California 61, Colorado 72, Idaho 80, Montana 92, Nevada 64, New Mexico 45, Oregon 84, Utah 66, Washington 112, Wyoming 82.

The service only measures Northern California and the state has its own system for the rest of California, Pattee said.